“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” just got a big boost from TBS, which tripled its order for the first season from 13 to 39 episodes. Reviews for this sassy half hour combo of commentary and sketches, which debuted in early February, have been exceptionally strong. It scores an impressive 84 at MetaCritic and is well-positioned to crack the Variety Talk Series category at the upcoming Emmys. There are two open slots in this six-show race, with both “The Colbert Report” and “The Late Show with David Letterman” no longer eligible.
After clocking in 12 years as a correspondent on Emmy darling “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”, Bee landed her own series, which airs Monday at 10:30 pm on the basic cable network. Two other “Daily Show” alums — Jo Miller and Miles Kahn — handle producing duties and the writing staff is diverse, as it is near gender parity and 30% non-white.
Among those most enthusisatic about their combined efforts were these four key critics:
Robert Bianco (USA Today) raved: “Bee is as pointedly amusing as they come, as anyone who watched her as a correspondent on ‘The Daily Show’ knows, and as anyone who watched the extremely promising debut of her new show now knows. And unlike the sweeter, sillier, less edgy comedy often practiced by ‘Daily”s new host Trevor Noah, Bee came out in full attack mode: intense, a little profane, and frequently hilarious.”
Ken Tucker (Yahoo) observed: “To the challenge of being TV’s most prominent woman on the late-night landscape, Samantha Bee spent the debut episode of ‘Full Frontal’ making that challenge irrelevant or glorious — take your pick. Her half-hour was packed with jokes, a high percentage of which arrived with the kind of cutting political edge audiences have been yearning for since Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart abandoned Comedy Central.”
Darren Franich (Entertainment Weekly) remarked: “‘Full Frontal’ already feels like an essential voice in this political year. We’ve been needing someone who’s this smart and this wacky, someone with the well-honed ability to fire a chaingun array of zingers that can all hit their marks with sniper precision. And she happens to be a female woman? That’s cool, too.”
And Jamie Poniewozik (New York Times) noted: Ms. Bee might have room to stand out in a few ways. A weekly show could free her from chasing the 24-hour news cycle. And for a female comic in the boys’ club, the Democratic campaign, with its controversies over gender double standards and Bernie Bros, could practically count as stealth marketing.”